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Ernst Addresses Crowd at March for Life 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today addressed tens of thousands of people from across the country at this year’s March for Life rally. At the rally, Senator Ernst discussed this year’s theme: “Pro-Life And Pro-Woman Go Hand-In-Hand.”

Senator Ernst speaks to the crowd at March for Life

Following is the full text of Senator Ernst’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Good afternoon!

“First, let me say that there is no place I would rather be on this cold January day!

“I am honored to be here today not only to stand, but to march, to protect the most vulnerable of our society.

“Thank you all – including those I met this morning from the great State of Iowa and all of the young future leaders in the crowd – for getting in your cars, boarding trains and planes, putting on your coats and gloves, and fighting for life.

“Over the last year, thank you for helping me fight to remind those in Washington that we are a nation that protects life.

“Thank you for helping me to fight in Washington to shine a light on the lack of compassion shown by Planned Parenthood for women and their babies.

“And thank you for helping me fight to remind those in Washington that we are a nation that will stand up and together say ‘we can and must do better!’

“The theme of this year’s march is ‘Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand-in-Hand.’

“It is such an important message.

“Many of those fighting against us have claimed that our efforts to defend and protect life at all stages of development constitute a ‘War on Women.’

“I reject that.

“I am a woman and I have been to war, and let me be clear, pro-life policies are no ‘War on Women.’

“Rather, to me, being pro-life means that you have a deep respect for the miracle of life and a woman’s unique ability to bring life into this world.

“Being pro-life means you recognize the joint responsibility of a mother, father, and society at large to protect and nurture each and every life from the moment that it is created, and you see abortion as a reflection of our collective failure to meet that responsibility – and not as a litmus test for the advancement of women’s rights.

“Being pro-life means you reject the notion that the loss of millions of babies through abortion honors the civil liberties, independence, or strength of a woman.

“Being pro-life means you mourn the thousands of baby girls – and boys – that are lost each year to abortion in the United States, and you believe we should cherish women and girls equally at every stage of their development.

“Look around you. As you can see by the crowd assembled here today – many of us are mothers, grandmothers, sisters – pro-life and pro-woman does indeed go hand-in-hand.

“In my first year in office, I have tried to embody that important message.

“As you may know, I have been leading the fight to safeguard taxpayer dollars for women’s health care by redirecting them from Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s single largest provider of abortion, and instead providing them to other eligible entities like community health centers, which provide greater health care services but do not provide abortions.

“Thanks to your support, earlier this month, Congress was able to put legislation on the President’s desk to defund Planned Parenthood.

“I have also joined my colleagues in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in an effort to ban abortions after five months of pregnancy – a stage of development at which evidence shows unborn babies can feel pain.

“The day I took to the Senate floor to speak in favor of the bill, I had the opportunity to meet an adorable little three-year old boy from Newton, Iowa named Micah Pickering. Micah was born prematurely at just five months of development. As Micah joyfully ran around my office, his mother and father explained to me that they know Micah was just as full of life when he was born as he is now.

“As Micah proved, an unborn baby in its 5th month of development is not just a clump of cells – they have ten fingers and ten toes, they can feel pain, and they can survive outside the womb.

“It’s what we all know. Life is precious, and we are a country that stands for life. In order to rise and meet that commitment, we must protect the most vulnerable in our society – particularly those who cannot protect themselves.

“As a mother and a grandmother, thank you for joining me here today and every day to stand, speak, and march for life.”